Tuesday, July 19, 2005

css stuff



here is a couple css resources but i think i like the ones that other people have found better.

i believe i shall buy a css book

Ze Website

I should really change the font color for this fella because it doesn't stand out so well. At this moment in time I am rather cold.

So, Penny Arcade. This is a website dedicated to video games and the emerging video game culture on the web. They produce a webcomic thrice a week that usually pokes fun at some aspect of the gaming industry.

Using the medium of the web, the two creators of PA have carved out a little niche for their site. They deliver their content in various sub-media such as in the form of comics and Tycho's long-winded dissertations on whatever strikes his fancy. These textual newsposts often convey more news and interesting information on the industry than actual Gaming News sites.

The fan base for PA is quite large and naturally some of these fans gravitate to the Penny Arcade Forums, something I once did a few years back and have talked about in greater detail in my previous post. An entire unique community has sprung up around the invention of these two satirists.

The constraints of this form is that their focus is very narrow. If video games were to suddenly fall off the face of the earth, they'd be out of a job. Also, they're only reaching those people that are extremely video game-oriented and somewhat internet savvy.

Community is a big thing with these guys, not just in their own forums, but they're a part of a greater webcomic community and even beyond that they are very valued in the gaming industry as a whole. They're even changing the shape of advertising for game companies on the web, as game companies gain credibility with gamers if they are approved of by the PA guys. Contracts for the PA guys to develop comics for specific games are desperately sought after and the PA guys often joke about the fine line they are walking between remaining hip and edgy and "indie" and being total sell outs.

Because these guys were some of the first to discuss the video game culture in this way, they are the inventors of the various institutional practices that many game sites and webcomics still try to follow and emulate. It is an interesting position to be in as many people believe the PA guys can do no wrong.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Yes This Is A Bit Long

My name is Ryan Wetzel and this is my Technobiography.

Once upon a time, before I was even born, my father had an Atari something or other. Pong was quite enjoyable for him but I guess the whole plugging-into-a-TV-screen thing wasn't all that important to him because we never had a Nintendo in my home until I took matters into my own hands many years down the line. No, he made the leap to computers shortly after I was born and it was the Commodore 64 that became a new toy for myself. At the ripe impressionable age of four I was taught to code rudimentary programs in Basic and to play those delightfully pixelated simple games such as "LODE RUNNER" or "JUMP MAN" or "DIGDUG." I quite enjoyed the text game "ZORK" and its various decendents but I really loved some game about a time-travelling gnome who had the ability to shoot lightning out of his hands called "TIME TUNNEL." During this time I used my barely significant knowledge of Basic to code self-playing text stories that would flash the screen and text in different colors at a rapid pace, causing most human beings to collapse into seizures after even the most minute exposure.

I guess this went on for sometime because I don't really remember much after that. Somewhere along the way, in '94 or '95, my father decided that it was time to buy a new computer and we ended up with a brand spankin' new Pentium 90 mHz. A modem followed shortly and, after a brief fling with AOL, the search for a speedy ISP was on. This was because my father, and subsuquently myself, developed an insatiable need to game online. This is as good a place as any to start a new paragraph because, sadly, there is a considerable amount to write from here on out.

My first experiences with the Internet were apparently pretty insignificant because the early AOL days are kind of hazy. I remember being unimpressed with the information readily available from AOL and being entirely apathetic towards chatting. However, I was absolutely enthralled with a free game offered by AOL that was called something like BATTLEMECH. I played that for a bit before the switch. I liked the game, sure, but it wasn't enough. The community was crap. That was about the time that Dad, my brother, and I found Kali. Man, was it all downhill from there.

The Kali Game Network was a service that allowed access to dozens and dozens of chat servers that were all more or less oriented towards a specific game. From those chat servers you could meet up with and connect to games with various other like-minded gamers. These were gaming communities. DESCENT, WARCRAFT2, MECHWARRIOR2, and etc were all played here. I, uh, pretty much sacrificed anything resembling a normal social life for a 7th grader to this loathsome place.

An idea sprung up in the communities, and while I'm vaguely interested in learning of its origins I'd just as soon forget it all entirely, that revolutionized the way we played games. This idea was forming Clans and I was sucked in. I was all serious about leading a clan and challenging other clans in whatever games we were playing at the time. I'm really very sorry for all of this. It started in JEDI KNIGHT 2 and continued through STARCRAFT, COUNTER-STRIKE, TEAM FORTRESS CLASSIC, and on and on. I didn't really exist again until I was a Junior in high school.

A few years ago I stopped going to Kali altogether. Most of the people I enjoyed talking to were gone and wasting all my time on the computer was getting a bit tired. College began and, oops, I discovered Forums. I posted for a long time on the Penny-Arcade Forums, a place that, for a time, was crude yet insanely funny and even (sometimes) intelligent. I don't really go there much. I was accidentally hired by Nathan Wagoner a little over a year ago and now I run the digital video production studio on campus so I don't really Internet all that much anymore. One of my goals is to someday leave the Internet entirely but I know I'm just kidding myself. I do actually love it quite a bit.